Although Rudolph could be out for six weeks following surgery to repair a sports hernia in Philadelphia on Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings are holding out on placing him on injured reserve/designated for return, at least for now.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer didn’t completely discount that possibility, but offered a ray of hope among a series of bad injury news.
“It’s a possibility, but until we get more information, probably not,” Zimmer of placing Rudolph on the short-term injured reserve. “We’re anticipating he’s not going to be that long.”
If Rudolph were to be placed on that list, he would be required to not practice for six weeks and then take another couple of weeks of practice before playing. Each team is allowed one player per season to be placed on the “designated for return” list.
The news on Rudolph came on the same day the Vikings made a series of roster moves because of injuries. They placed quarterback Matt Cassel and guard Brandon Fusco on season-ending injured reserve. The Vikings signed tight end Chase Ford from the practice squad to active roster to help at tight end.
“We try to use all of our guys with their skill set in mind,” Zimmer said when asked if Ford was mainly a pass-catching tight end. “Chase has been with us for a little bit of time here and then last year also. There’s some tape on him where he’s blocking.”
Ford was also elevated to the active roster for 10 games last year. He finished with 10 catches, with seven of those going for first downs.
While most of the long-term injuries were limited to the offense, the defense could also be without some starters.
Linebacker Chad Greenway – who has started 90 consecutive games, the longest streak among active NFL linebackers – left Sunday’s 20-9 loss to the New Orleans Saints in the second half with a broken rib. He wasn’t practicing Wednesday, but that was also due in part to the fact that his wife gave birth to their child on Tuesday.
Zimmer said on Monday that he probably shouldn’t have let Greenway play Sunday with a previous rib injury and a broken hand.
“You’ve got to believe the players when they tell you how they feel. You have to believe them,” Zimmer said Wednesday. “I don’t have a crystal ball, but I trust our players to tell the truth just like they trust me to tell them the truth. He felt like he could go. He’s earned that right and that privilege because of what he’s done.
“He’s a tough guy and he wants to play. All my conversations are very short. He was good about it.”
If Greenway can’t play, second-year pro Gerald Hodges would likely receive more playing time. In three games, Hodges has played in 18.7 percent of the defensive snaps as a player used in specific personnel packages.
“A good thing about Gerald is that he’s athletic and physical and he can run. He usually has a knack for the football,” Zimmer said. “I love having guys that are athletes out on the field. We’ll keep using him and continue to bring him along at the right tempo or the right way.”
Cornerback Josh Robinson (hamstring) and nose tackle Linval Joseph (shoulder) were also not practicing on Wednesday.
For those counting, with Adrian Peterson’s legal troubles and injuries to Cassel, Rudolph, Fusco, that’s four of the 11 offensive starters from the season opener who are out, with others possibly missing time on the defensive side of the ball.
“I never envision that, but it’s part of football,” Zimmer said. “Last year in Cincinnati we lost our best defensive tackle, our best corner, one of our best linebackers, a very good defensive end. Things happen in the NFL. This is a survival of the fittest game. It’s always a marathon. The toughest teams always go on. I think we have good coaches here so we’ll continue to coach the guys that are playing as hard as we can and keep moving.”